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 The EPC Members' Newsletter

 

Legislative update 94 Month - December 2000

1. ELECTRONIC COMMERCE
1.1 VAT on eCommerce postponed
1.2 E-ping CyberCrime meeting
1.3 Protection of privacy online
1.4 FEDMA + US work on privacy
1.5 Organisation and Management of the Internet
1.6 Filtering and software services
1.7 Consumer confidence in eCommerce
1.8 .EU domain register proposed
1.9 Public hearing on seven new TLDs
1.10 CoE Surveillance and Data Protection report launched
1.11 Safer Internet - Commission call for proposals
1.12 Future Trends in Internet Security - call for speakers
1.13 Commission publishes opinion on internet and privacy
1.14 Telecoms and IT

2. INTERNET (CONTENT) REGULATION
2.1 eContent adopted in plenary

3. COPYRIGHT
3.1 European Blind Union excluded by Copyright plans
3.2 US ruling on radio broadcasting

4. ADVERTISING
4.1 ICC discuss advertising to Children
4.2 "With the eyes of a child"
4.3 Consumption of Alcohol amongst Young People
4.4 Tobacco - EP votes for new amendments on sale and marketing
4.5 Children - Consumer Group still stalled
4.6 Swedish Presidency: advertising and alcohol issues
4.7 Commission Hearing on claims and unfair ads
4.8 CEN targets advertising industry in new drive for standards
4.9 Communication on Sales promotion

5. AUDIOVISUAL AND GENERAL MEDIA POLICY
5.1 Media Plus approved by Parliament
5.2 "i2i Audiovisual" Money announced
5.3 Review of Television without Frontiers
5.4 Reding speaks at the European Journalists Conference

6. GENERAL
6.1 European Services Forum meeting 27th November
6.2 Sectoral proposals for GATS
6.3 Bolkestein's Postal Services plan in ruin
6.4 La Poste found guilty of unlawful state aid
6.5 Parliament vote on Hostile Take-over Bid rules
6.6 Investigation into German book price fixing
6.7 Services of General Interest
6.8 Minimum VAT rate
6.9 Nice Declaration on specific nature of sport
6.10 Swedish Presidency announces priorities
6.11 Action Plan to combat counterfeiting adopted by Commission
6.12 WIPO domain name consultation
6.13 Tax on Savings news
6.14 The Treaty of Nice


Dates for your diary

January
1st - Sweden takes over EU Presidency
8th & 9th - Copyright exchange of views in the legal committee
9th - Commission visits Stockholm
18th & 19th - Ecofin Council, EU-US summit
23rd - Talk on The Commission's Work Program for 2001 at European Policy Centre
29th - Econfin Council
29th or 30th Copyright vote in Legal Affairs

February
8th Ð EPC Corporate Affairs Group meeting, Brussels
9th Ð industry round table on advertising self-regulation

June
19-20th Ð EPC Annual General Assembly, Brussels

Note: See http://www.eu2001.se for the new Swedish Presidency events

General enquiries: Angela Mills
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 310 732
Facsimile: +44 (0)1865 310 739
Annabella Coldrick
Telephone: +32 2 231 1299
Facsimile: +32 2 230 7658

Press Enquiries: Heidi Lambert
Telephone: +32 2 732 5546
Facsimile: +32 2 735 3603


1 Electronic commerce

1.1 VAT on eCommerce postponed
The EcoFin Council on 27 and 28th November saw the postponement of discussions on the VAT on electronic services proposal for 6 months. In spite of the general endorsement by the Parliament of the proposal at the Dec plenary, the Council has passed the issue onto their tax experts to prepare an amended draft by the end of June 2001. The Commissioner Frits Bolkestein has accused the Member States of focusing "too much on the sharing of receipts which for the time do not exist."

1.2 E-ping CyberCrime meeting
The Commission has announced plans to create a European Forum on cybercrime. The European Parliament Internet Group (E-Ping) heard Antonio Vittorino, the Justice and Home Affairs minister explain his idea of bringing together all interested parties to build a consensus on the issue as well as improving co-ordination between law enforcement agencies and protecting consumer data. A representative from the Swedish government said that they intend to discuss cybercrime as part of the EU presidency. More information available at http://www.eping.org

1.3 Protection of Privacy online
The EP Committee for Citizen's Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, have held an exchange of views with the Commission on the protection of privacy in electronic communications and the passing of personal data. It was revealed that the speed of changed in the sector has not corresponded with the speed of the implementation of Directives as some member States have still not implemented the parent Directive. The Rapporteur has called for an equal level of privacy protection across the board and general principles on data protection. He also disputed that the opt-in method favoured by the Commission on unsolicited mail could work in practice. A hearing will be held on this subject on 10th Jan 2001 and the Council's Telecommunications working group should look at the text March 2001.

1.4 FEDMA + US work on privacy
The Federation of European Direct Marketers (FEDMA) with American and European partners have begun work on plans for global co-operation on codes, trustmarks and Alternative Dispute Resolution systems. On a similar issue FEDMA have also been asked by the US Federal Trade Commission to co-operate on tracking down and identifying Cyber-criminals operating into Europe from the US, Canada and Australia. Report available on request.

1.5 Organisation and Management of the Internet
The Industry Committee in the EP is requesting common rules at EU level to deal with issues such as cyber squatting in an environment that is as self regulatory as possible. The EP report refers to the Commission's Communication on the "Organisation and Management of the Internet 1998-2000". They additionally expressed concern that ICANN was not sufficiently flexible to reflext all the interests involved and was still biased towards North America in issues such as staffing. Report available on request.

1.6 Filtering and software services
The Official Journal has published a call for proposals on projects to demonstrate filtering software and services in the framework of the action plan for promoting safer use of the internet. An information meeting will be held in Brussels on 15th Feb 2001. More information is available at http://www.qlinks.net/2001calls.html

1.7 Consumer confidence in eCommerce
The Commission is planning a future eCommerce Recommendation. They presented their preparatory work at the recent Internal Market Council on 30th November. It is intended that an expert group will be brought together in 2001 to develop principles for future codes of conduct in order to boost consumer confidence in eCommerce. The proposal should be presented to the Council by mid-2001.

1.8 .EU domain register proposed
The Commission has proposed to create a register to operate the .eu domain. The proposal creates a legal framework and the preparation of government policies necessary for its functioning. In particular it entrusts the Commission with drafting measures in terms of speculative and abusive registering of names as well as dispute settlement procedures. These measures will be adopted after consultation on the register itself and with the Member States within the advisory committee. The Commission then hopes that the registry will be able to create second level domains such as ".press.eu" ".ngo.eu" ".event.eu" etc. See http://www.eu-pop.org

1.9 Public hearing on seven new TLDs
A public hearing is due to be held at the Borschette Centre on Thursday 11th January 2001. This include expert discussion on the four new "Chartered" Top Level Domain the .aero, .coop, .museum and .pro. It is also planed to discuss the three new "Open" Top Level Domains the .biz, .info and .name. For the agenda and schedule see; http://www.europa.eu.int/ISPO/eif/InternetPoliciesSite/EC-POP/Agenda11-Jan-2001.html

1.10 CoE Surveillance and Data Protection report launched
The Council of Europe has released its report and guiding principles on data protection. The report looks at how personal data can be protected in the light of technological development in data surveillance techniques. The report and guiding principles are open for comment (deadline 21 January 2024) at http://press.coe.int/press2/press.asp?B=0,0,0,0,0&M;=http://www.coe.fr/dataprotection Additionally the Dutch ministry of Justice has announced that Dutch law needs to be changed in accordance with the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Treaty. The text of the draft which will be signed from autumn 2001 is available at; http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/EN/projects/cybercrime22.htm

1.11 Safer Internet - Commission call for proposals
The European Commission has issued a call for proposals for projects to demonstrate filtering and software services. In addition, the Commission is calling for content providers to take part in a consortium for "walled gardens" and "family-friendly" searching. An information meeting will be held in Brussels on 31 May 2001. Further information available at http://www.quicklinks.net/iap/2001calls.html

1.12 Future Trends in Internet Security - call for speakers
EuroISPA, the European Internet Service Providers Association is holding a major conference on 10 and 11 April 2023 in Brussels entitled "Future Trends in Internet Security". Conference themes will include protecting privacy and securing consumer confidence in e-commerce. Those interested in speaking at the conference or in sponsorship opportunities should contact conference@euroispa.org

1.13 Commission publishes opinion on internet and privacy
The European Commission has published the Article 29 Committee Opinion on Internet and Privacy. Included in the paper is a review of the protection of consumers in relation to online marketing practices and data collection including the use of cookies, protocols, browsers and other software programmes. Available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/media/dataprot/wpdocs/index.htm

1.14 Telecoms Proposals delayed
It is highly unlikely that the Ministers will finalise an agreement on the Telecoms Framework proposal at the Telecommunications Council on Friday 22nd December. No agreement is yet in sight in the Committee of Member States Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and the Parliament has yet to deliver its Opinion under the co-decision procedure. The delegations in COREPER are urging the Commission to issue "guidelines" on the way it plans to interpret the concept of market power (Art 13 & 14), without these Member States are not willing to signal their agreement to the proposal. Other issues of contention apply to cross-border dispute settlement procedures (Art 18) and the consultation and transparency system (Art 6). It is thought the Council talks will focus on these two points. Meanwhile the Commission has published the Sixth Annual Report on Telecommunications Liberalisation which is available on request.


2 Internet (content) regulation

2.1 eContent adopted in plenary
Neena Gill's report on eContent was finally adopted in the Parliament despite the recent dispute over which Committee held competence. The Parliament are requesting that the budget be increased to _170 million over 4 years instead of _150 over 5 years. They are also focusing on the importance of protecting personal data and insisting that a high level group is set up with Parliament input to monitor the success of the program.


3 Copyright

3.1 European Blind Union excluded by Copyright plans
The European Blind Union has called on the European Parliament to protect the right of the blind and those suffering from partial blindness to be part of the information society. Many use a "screen reader" to read information on the Internet which transfers text to synthetic vocal reading mode or temporarily into Braille. They claim that the Copyright Directive as it stands will be incompatible with such technology and will thus force blind people from obtaining the information illegally. They want MEPs to repeal Article 6.4.4 to ensure that copyright holders will allow them to overcome the technical and legal obstacles.

3.2 US ruling on radio broadcasting
The US Copyright Office has recently ruled that radio stations will have to pay a royalty to record companies when they send music broadcasts through the web. The size of the royalty is to be decided by an arbitration panel which will hear arguments from both sides. This ruling means that radio broadcasters will have to pay a royalty online which they do not pay offline. At present they pay to music publishers but not to record companies or performers. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) successfully argued that internet streams are actually digital copies and are subject to different rules. In the meantime the National Association of Broadcasters are hoping that a federal district court in New York will overturn the ruling.


4 Advertising

4.1 ICC discuss advertising to Children
On 1st December the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) met in Paris to discuss the issue of advertising to children. Delegates decided not to continue with the draft position on advertising to Children and not to embark on a separate code. Several options have been proposed for the next steps such as the preparation of guidelines similar to those from CARU, the drafting of a position with a clear framework and aims and the preparation and promotion of a status report of national actions. ICC plans to present their "message" at the Swedish Presidency seminar on children and media 12-13th January.

4.2 "With the eyes of a child"
At the Food Advertising Unit in London a talk was given by an eminent Fin on the effect of advertising on Children. He stated that whilst his work does not show that all 12 year olds have a comprehensive grasp of advertising's role the same could be said of adults and that the finding did not justify the Swedish Media Restrictions. This can be seen as a significant challenge to the basis of the Swedish ban and their plans to extend it elsewhere. See http://www.fau.org.uk for more details. Additionally the Danish Ministry of Culture has discussed the issue of children's advertising with the major advertisers - voluntary agreements such as that with TV2 were said to be the way forward.

4.3 Consumption of Alcohol amongst Young People
The report on the consumption of alcohol amongst young people was presented to the Health Council on the 11th December but not debated. The text will go to the EP for consultation and will probably be adopted during the Swedish Presidency. The report does not advocate a ban on advertising but calls for harmonisation of the self-regulatory advertising codes of the Member States with the principles of the EC Treaty e.g. Article 49 on Free Movement of Services: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/pdf/2000/com2000_0736en01.pdf

4.4 Tobacco - EP votes for new amendments on sale and marketing
New amendments to proposed restrictions on the sale, packaging and marketing of cigarettes produced in Europe have been approved by the European Parliament. The new legislation will include tough measures to force the tobacco industry to print controversial graphic health warnings on cigarette packs sold in Europe. The health warnings would cover 30% of the front and 40% of the back of cigarette packs.

4.5 Children - Consumer Group still stalled
DG Sanco's Consumer Committee on advertising, the media and children is still to adopt a report on issues for discussion with industry. The working paper will now be discussed at the group's next meeting on 28 February 2001. Industry representatives have approached the group on several occasions in order to open discussions but the group has yet to co-operate.

4.6 Swedish Presidency: advertising and alcohol issues
In a bid to improve consumer protection, the Swedish presidency intends to: adopt a recommendation on young people and alcohol; adopt a resolution on an alcohol strategy; and adopt a progress report on the ongoing WHO negotiations on a tobacco convention. The Health Council meeting on 31 March 2023 will focus on these issues. In addition, on 19 February 2001, the Swedish government will organise a meeting on ÒYoung People and Alcohol: 2nd WHO European Ministerial Conference on AlcoholÓ which will agree on a plan of action for reducing alcohol-related problems in society. A special working group will address the alcohol and health issues within the EU; create a political commitment for action; involve young people in the work of the conference.

4.7 Commission Hearing on claims and unfair ads
The European Commission is organising a hearing on misleading advertising and claims in April 2001, following the publication earlier this year of a study on claims and misleading advertising. There will also be consideration of a regulation on unfair advertising, following the study published by Hans Micklitz, who recommended that the EC should publish a Green Paper on the subject.

4.8 CEN targets advertising industry in new drive for standards
The European standardisation body, CEN, is targeting the adverting industry in a bid to expand its portfolio of standards into the services sector. The organisation has been addressing a number of organisations in the field of advertising and direct marketing, asking members to consider areas which should be standardised at a European level. As yet, there has been little response from industry who have not seen the need for such standardisation. However, several industry representatives have expressed caution at CEN's initiative which it is feared could lead to the introduction of unhelpful or restrictive standards in the future.

4.9 Communication on Sales promotion
The new publication date for the Commission Communication on Sales promotion is now expected to be at the end of January 2001. The draft is still being worked on awaiting the third opinion of the expert group. The Commission would also like to see the results of the German proposal to reform the laws in this area before releasing the draft.


5 Audiovisual and general media policy

5.1 Media Plus approved by Parliament
The training part of Media Plus has been approved by the Parliament without fuss. The MEPs have therefore endorsed the Council Common position on this subject and the budget of _400 million even though it was less than the _550 million originally requested by the Parliament.

5.2 "i2i Audiovisual" Money announced
The European Central Bank has announced several new ways of finance that will be available to fund European productions. The initial volume of EIB funding should be in excess of $500 million over three years. This program will be known as the i2i Audiovisual which will aims to reinforce the financial stability of European audiovisual firms. Four action lines were presented - firstly credit lines will be provided ("Global Loans"), secondly medium and long term financing by the EIB in co-operation with the banking sector, thirdly the creation of risk capital funds and lastly joint actions by the EIB and the European Commission to promote cultural creation and the development of a film and television industry. More information on the i2i funding is available on request.

5.3 Review of Television without Frontiers
Viviane Reding gave a speech on 30th November at the British Screen Advisory Council concerning a planned review of Television Without Frontiers. Three studies are planned: 1) to evaluate the impact of measurers to promote the distribution and production of European television programs, in particular the effectiveness of European content obligation in the Directive against other measurers. 2) to analyse the recent technological and market developments in the sector and attempt to identify cause and effect relationships. 3) to examine the development of new advertising techniques with a view to how a separation between advertising and other forms of content could be achieved. At the beginning of 2002 the Commission will publish a consultation document based on the results of the studies. It will in addition conduct a series of hearings in 2002. At the end of that year the Commission will publish a Communication on the results of the Studies together with any necessary proposals for amending the Directive.

5.4 Reding speaks at the European Journalists Conference
Viviane Reding the Commissioner for Culture reiterated her opposition to a ban on advertising to children. She stated "I am opposed, not only because of the moves taken as part of the Television Without Frontiers which I believe guarantees a good balance between free circulation of audio-visual products, but also because I prefer to give responsibility to young people and teach them that they are living in an increasingly open world". She also spoke about ownership of rights in publishing and said that although she supports the rights of journalists over their own work, it is important to realise that online publishing complements that of the original edition.

6 General

6.1 European Services Forum meeting 27th November
The European Services Forum held a meeting entitled GATS 2000 which discussed the progress of the Trade in Services negotiations and potential problems in the future. The speakers discussed the failure of Seattle in contrast to the perseverance of services and agriculture negotiations. It was stated that negotiation were progressing slowly due to an absence of political will but the plan is to get a work program agreed by March. The Commission hopes that a move to Qualified Majority Voting to be agreed at Nice will give them greater authority to push these negotiations forward (This has now been agreed). He also stated that the Commission will negotiate for Audio-Visual services to keep the diversity and cultural heritage. One of the last speakers David Hartridge who is in charge of the service negotiations at the WTO spoke ominously about the future of the GATS negotiations. He believes that the anti-globalisation protesters from Seattle will accuse these negotiations as being a threat to government services and the public sector. He said such accusations are based on erroneous information and that it is the duty of governments to explain to people that no such threat exists. More information about this conference and the documents circulated there is available on request.

6.2 Sectoral proposals for GATS
At the GATS 2000 Conference Mr Morgens Carl, the Director General of DG Trade announced that the Commission will produce sectoral proposals from the EU to WTO which will reflect our export interests - transport, telecoms, financial services etc. They have just recently issued a Communication to the World Trade Organisation's Council for Trade in Services on the eCommerce work program. A copy of this Communication is available on request.

6.3 Bolkestein's Postal Services plan in ruin
The European Parliament has now passed the report by Markus Feber which has increased the proposed 50g weight limit to 150g thus only opening 6% of the postal market instead of the 22% proposed by the Commission. The deadline has also been moved to 31st Dec 2008 instead of 2006. Just before the vote the Commissioner Bolkestein made an irate speech to the Parliament warning MEPs off the reactionary Parliament report. Inevitably this only encouraged MEPs to vote the report by an astounding majority of 358. The Postal Services plan is now to go to the Telecoms Council on the 22nd of December where it will either accept the MEPs amendments or go to negotiating a Common Position and a second reading in the Parliament.

6.4 La Poste found guilty of unlawful state aid
Meanwhile the Court of the First Instance has annulled the Commission's decision not to regard the logistical and commercial assistance that France's "La Poste" gave to its subsidiary SFMI-Chronopost as State Aid. It has found La Poste guilty and has effectively handed victory to the French post office's competitors. It will now have to be subject to State Aid rules.

6.5 Parliament vote on Hostile Take-over Bid rules
The Parliament has approved the 13th Company law directive which dictates how firms could behave in the middle of hostile take-over bids. The last minute changes made by the Parliament have strengthened the position further giving firms on the wrong end of a hostile bid greater protection and more options. If the Directive were adopted in its present form board members of firms would be able to take decisive action against the bid without having to consult the shareholders. The Commissioner Frits Bolkestein was unhappy with this result as he believes it spoils the main aim of the Directive which is worker consultation before such measures are taken. He argues that "the Parliament's vote has undermined the credibility of the practical implementation of the Lisbon agenda."

6.6 Investigation into German book price fixing
Belgian bookseller Proxis has asked the Commission to investigate a group of German wholesalers which it alleges have broken EU competition rules. These wholesalers have withheld German language books from Proxis, as they believe that the Belgians wish to resell them online below the fixed price set in Germany. Proxis said they want to launch a website in Germany and the wholesalers fear that it would undercut their prices by offering books online. The German firms concerned are Koch Neff Oettinger & Co. GmbH, Georg Lingenbrink GmbH & Co., G. Umbreit GmbH & Co., Wehling OHG, and Koenemann GmbH &Co.;

6.7 Services of General Interest
The Socialist Group in the Parliament has just voted on and approved the report by Claude Desama which comments on the updated Commission communication on services of economic interest. (COM(2000)0580). This report criticises the approach of the Commissioner Frits Bolkestein for his excessively liberal approach to the postal services directive and thus believes the Commission is moving away from the notion of competition that it has always had on public services. Similar concerns were expressed regarding public transport. It should be voted on in the next plenary session in January 2001. The Internal Market Council also adopted a political statement on this issue on 30th November. The press release of the Council meeting is available on request.

6.8 Minimum VAT rate
The Parliament has approved the extension of the minimum normal VAT rate at 15% but has requested that the system be kept in place only until 2003 (instead of 2005). This extension implicitly means keeping the transitional VAT system in place even though it is not yet possible to replace this with a definitive system based on taxation in the country of origin (not consumption) but the Report has restated the Parliament's aim to achieve this as soon as possible. The Rapporteur argues that the introduction of the Euro will lead to the necessity of greater co-ordination of VAT rates due to increased price transparency.

6.9 Nice Declaration on specific nature of sport
This has been welcomed by the Culture Commissioner Viviane Reding as a clear political signal on the importance of sport. The issue arose when the Court of Justice and the European Commission had applied the economic and social rules of the Treaty of Rome to sport without taking account of its distinctive nature. The Declaration on Nice does not introduce an "exemption for sport" in the treaty; the fundamental values remain valid, but the institutions will have to take account of the "social, educational and cultural role of sport, so as to respect and promote the necessary ethic and solidarity for the preservation of its actual role". The Nice Declaration on Sport which was annexed to the Presidency conclusions is available on request.

6.10 Swedish Presidency announces priorities
The incoming Swedish Presidency has officially announced its priorities. The main focus of the Presidency will be on the three E's: Environment, Enlargement and Employment. Other areas of interest highlighted by the Swedes include "considerable attention" to be given to the media sector, including public service radio and TV, film and new media. The situation of children and young people in the new media landscape will be also be emphasised. Full details available at http://www.eu2001.se/static/eng/programme/default.asp

6.11 Action Plan to combat counterfeiting adopted by Commission
On 30th November the Commission adopted an action plan against counterfeiting. This announces a series of practical measurers. As part of these measurers the Commission will put forward a proposal for a Directive harmonising the legislation of Member States to strengthen the means of enforcing intellectual property rights and a proposal to extend training activites for officials of supervisory authorities. Copies of the Commission Communication are available on request

6.12 WIPO domain name consultation
WIPO has now posed the second request for comments in the second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process (WIPO2 RFC-2) . This study is seeking to develop recommendations to prevent the misuse of personal names, names recommended by the World Health Organisation to protect patient safety world-wide (pharmaceuticals), names of international NGO, geographical indicators and tradenames. See http://wipo2.wipo.int/process2/rfc/rfc1/summary.html for more information. The WIPO are also organising a conference on Intellectual Property Questions relating to the ccTLD on February 20th in Switzerland. This is for administrators of ccTLds to advise them on intellectual property strategy and management of their domains including dispute prevention and resolution. See http://ecommerce.eiop.int/meetings/2001/cctlds for more info

6.13 Tax on Savings news
The European Union Finance Ministers have reached agreement on the major principles of a directive for a tax on savings. Luxembourg managed to compromise but managed to put the implementation off to 2002 and even then the issue will still be decided by unanimity. The goal of this directive is to guarantee a minimum of actual taxation of interests gained by European nationals on savings placed in another member state than the one in which they live. In order to do so the Council of Ministers agreed in June to apply a generalised system of information exchange between tax administrations by 2010. Luxembourg has warned however, that it will only move in this direction if Switzerland does likewise and if the code of conduct on company taxation is agreed at the same time. According to the proposals from the time the Directive takes effect each Member State will automatically communicate to other member states information on the revenue on savings of their residents. Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, however, have agreed a seven year transitional period (until 2009) when they will apply tax on the savings of their non-residents instead at 15% for the first 3 years and then 20%, the states concerned will then pay on 75% of this revenue to the state of residence of the saver. This will include all revenue distributed by investment funds with specific rules for trusts and partnerships. A grandfather clause excludes securities issued before 1st March 2001 from the directive until the end of the transition period.

6.14 The Treaty of Nice
Since the end of the negotiations at 4am on the Monday morning the debate surrounding the success or failure of Nice has commenced. Most MEPs from all political parties are critical of the end result saying that it lacked ambition and was under-whelming. However it is thought that the Parliament will pass a positive recommendation on ratification because there is too much at stake if the Treaty is delayed. In the meantime they have called upon the constitutional committee to carry out a detailed assessment of the new treaty. One of the main criticisms of the Intergovernmental Conference is the way it leaves decisions right up until the last minute and governments play the game of who has the most stamina wins. Prodi has called for the traditional "Community method" founded on the Parliament/Council/ Commission triangle to be respected in the future. For more on the Nice Treaty see the summary sent on 14th December 2000.